Dr Henry Anim Somuah, a Graduate Farmer, on Wednesday said agricultural policies in Ghana are at variance with the realities on the ground and therefore advised government to engage the ordinary farmer in formulating policies.
He also advised farmers to adopt effective record keeping practices and work with government and other stakeholders to get improved seeds to boost their yields.
Dr Somuah, who is also at the Department of Agriculture Economics and Agribusiness at the University of Ghana, gave the advice at a workshop organised by the Economy of Ghana Network (EGN) at the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana on Youth and Agriculture.
The workshop brought together farmer groups, agriculture students, farmer organisations, prospective funding organisations, people engaged in agribusiness, media and policy makers and other participants to share their experiences and ideas.
Dr Somuah, who shared his more than 20 years experiences as a graduate farmer, said he came from a family that believed that agriculture was the way, however, it is not easy taking agriculture as one’s main source of livelihood taking into consideration the policy issues as well as external environmental factors that affected farmers.
“It is not everybody that can farm….farming is not for the light hearted, it takes a lot of commitment,” he said and stressed the need for policy makers to come up with well thought out programmes that would enhance farming and make it more lucrative.
Mr Hayford Ayerekwa, a PHD Agricultural Student at the University of Ghana, who said he would not consider a career in primary agriculture even if he is given $50,000, explained that poor infrastructure such as lack of developed irrigation facilities, poor road network among other things make it difficult for one to make primary agriculture a career.
He said with primary agriculture as a career, it is difficult for one to have sustainable income and one may not be able to take care of family of other needs.
Alhaji Emmanuel Adam Mahama, National Coordinator of the Youth in Agriculture Programme, said agriculture is the solution to the unemployment problems in our country.
He said the Youth in Agricultural Programme is an important intervention by the government to reach out to the youth and provide them with the necessary inputs and services to enable them take up farming as a lifelong vocation.
Alhaji Mahama said since its inception the programme has seen more youth expressing interest to take up farming.